Updated: Sep 8, 2022
Dallas, Texas 1985ish
I drove across Dallas from our little starter home in Mesquite to experience a Victor Costa outlet sale. Two dear friends had the inside scoop on the sale and were in the market for evening attire for New Year's Eve parties and the like. I got caught up in the excitement and went to the sale with visions of beautiful ball gowns and cocktail dresses waltzing in my head. The place was packed with finery and rabid shoppers. An example of each dress was hung along the walls close to the ceiling like holiday festooning. We stood in line awaiting our turn to choose our dresses. It was then that reality set in. There would be NO try-ons. Just grab and go. Formal attire.
I bought a cocktail dress that was a beautiful ocean blue. It had a boat neck and large shoulder pads. From the shoulders it fell straight down like a fitted shift. The piece de resistance was a perfect curvy flounce that flared out at the bottom. I also took home a voluminous tapestry skirt and an ecru lace blouse that don't rate further comment.
I was flushed with excitement when I bounded into the house with my plastic bag stuffed with formal attire. I raced into my bedroom, stripped down to my skivvies and carefully began to slip the blue dress over my lumpy body shimmying to coax it into place. The shoulder pads. Giant. That's good, right? They make your rear end look slimmer. Nope. I looked like a right tackle on a junior high football team. The dress fitted me extra snugly outlining my rounded belly like a sock pulled onto a basketball.
It was then that I felt the weight of it press down from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. Buyer's remorse. I tried to cheer myself up thinking that as soon I lost "five pounds" and did 14, 734 sit-ups, the dress would swirl around my sleek body as I danced until midnight on New Year's Eve. This never happened.
Venice, Rome, Sorrento and Florence Italy, 2022
I don't particularly pay attention to haute couture during my daily life as a West Texas housewife. But, in Italy, I had time to gaze upon beautiful things like duomos and art and dresses and shoes. I spent time studying elaborate shop windows like a little girl staring at toys in the window of FAO Swarz. If I squinted my eyes and ignored the truth of my sixty-five-year-old body, I could envision myself strutting across St. Mark's Square in Venice clad in a smart little Dolce and Gabbana ensemble with my high heels clicking on the ancient stone paving.
After my experience with the long-gone Victor Costa cocktail dress, I approached these opportunities to impulse buy lovely things by my snapping my wrist with a wide blue rubber band bracelet on which I'd written "devil in a blue dress" with a black Sharpie. I'm kidding about the rubber band bracelet. I can still feel the "snap" of trying to get myself OUT of that snug blue dress that bunched about my shoulders leaving my arms pinned awkwardly over my head which was stuck somewhere between the side seams of dress's snug lining.
Here are some things that I DID NOT buy in Italy. I have no regrets, and most importantly I have no buyer's remorse.
This adorable handbag that I named "Emily in Paris."
This fresh ensemble (to which I would have to add leggings) in case I ever go to a tony garden party in the south of France.
This really needs no justification. I mean...24K gold leaf mosaic tiles AND an LED screen that shouts, "DIOR"!
Every. Single. One. Of. These.
This fluffy creation in case I'm ever invited to...um...let me get back with you on that. You probably think I'd pair it with "Emily in Paris" pictured above. You'd be wrong. I'd totally go with the purse on the gold pillar. And, I'd carry that purse all over Lubbock, Texas. I really, really regret not marching into this store demanding the dress in size 14 and then saying, "It runs big, right?" It looks like it could cover a multitude of sins.
The midriff blouse and checked skirt just so I could wear it to a ladies' luncheon at the country club with my belly bulging out. I'd say, "It's Prada! I don't get it either!"
To commemorate Lady Gaga's amazing performance in House of Gucci. I mean, guys! It's GUCCI.
I need a moment of silence.
I truly regret not buying these shoes.
I haven't colored my hair since the beginning of Covid. Do the math. I could have bought two pairs of these.
I looked them up online. Big mistake.
I would have saved BIG TIME if I'd bought them in Venice. Oh, well. Next time.
This snazzy hiker ensemble because I stood in awe of the hypnotic background. I want to meet the person that designed this display and give him/her a slow clap that crescendos into a raucous standing ovation.
Ahhhhh, Italy. You're a temptress. You know I'll be back. Save those shoes for me in an 8 (American).